Are you interested in having your students participate in a class exit poll this fall? We’re currently working on an assignment series that will guide students through the planning and prep work of an exit poll, and then provide them with everything they need to conduct an actual exit poll and analyze the data. We’ve always loved the exit poll project that Dr. Jocelyn Evans organized for her students in 2004 and 2006 at the University of West Florida. (You can read about the project in the conference paper she presented at APSA’s 2007 Teaching and Learning Conference, and you can check out the video from the project that’s part of this assignment in Americans Governing.) I also just read about another great class exit polling project in this article in the most recent issue of PS: Political Science. I think projects like this are great because they allow students to learn research methods in a real and practical way and actually “do” political science. (Update: If you’re interested in exit polls from a comparative perspective, this article in European Political Science features a class exit polling project at Roosevelt Academy in The Netherlands. The authors, Herman Lelieveldt and Gregor Rossen, even provide a nice seven-week outline of activities.)
Our five new assignments will walk students through the basics of exit polling including sample selection, types of questions, how to research local election statutes, pollster protocol–pretty much everything needed to prepare for an exit poll. The polling questions are ready to go so that as voting begins, students around the country will be participating in a nation-wide exit poll. Students may use either paper or digital surveys, and in the end the responses are recorded in a database so that students can analyze the data.
The new assignment series is included with Americans Governing and Central Ideas in American Government, and it will also be available as a standalone ancillary for just $10. To receive updates about the exit polling series, send us an email with your contact information. Also, if you’re interested in providing feedback on the exit poll questions or the assignments before they’re released in August, let us know that as well.